Writers Guild Strike Looms Large

Another day, another step closer to a Writers Guild of America strike. Yesterday the existing contract between writers and producers expired, and tonight the WGA will meet to decide whether to keep threatening to strike or to actually walk out.
We’ve been covering the escalating tensions for the last six months, so you might say we’ve done it to death, but, c’mon, that can’t really be true since a strike still hasn’t been authorized.

For background: A strike would first affect news-oriented comedy shows, which depend on writers. People associated with The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, for example, have told the Associated Press they’ll resort to re-runs. And as new episodes of all sorts of shows start to peter out, there are opportunities — as we’ve written many times — for online video to step in and fill people’s need for entertainment. It’s one of the more ironic twists of this battle, considering the writers’ negotiations center around revenue associated with their work being distributed on the Internet.

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WoW 2.0: Lord of the Rings, Everquest Creator Challenge Warcraft

LOTR Online
So there’s two new fantasy MMOs with high name recongition launching now. Only three years ago, gamers and the industry would greet that announcement with at least a modicum of enthusiasm. Now the general reaction is more likely to be, “But… why bother?”
Sony Online’s Vanguard: Saga of Heroes went on sale yesterday, and the name recognition comes from its head developer: Brad McQuaid, who was also development lead on Sony’s Everquest, once the most popular US-based MMO for nearly five years. Now out in open Beta, Lord of the Rings Online has even more name recognition for obvious reasons.
With such big guns at play, you’d think World of Warcraft finally has some serious competition. You’d probably be wrong. At least one of the games is attempting some very interesting Web 2.0 implementations which may give it some traction, but that aside, I very much doubt Vivendi/Blizzard will need to worry about the market dominance of their franchise any time soon.
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Vonage, now hiring..

Jeffrey Citron, when I had a chance to catch up with him at the Web 2.0 has said that the growth at Vonage was so fast, that he was having a hard time hiring enough people. He pointed out that AT&T was firing people, and he was hiring. (Meow!) Now the company has put out a news release saying that it will add more than 600 new people by end of Q1 2005.

From Press release: New hires will be used to fill positions in all areas, including but not limited to: customer care, product development, call processing, network engineering, sales and operations. “Vonage is continuing to meet the challenges of growing its workforce to constantly improve the quality of our service,” stated Jeffrey A. Citron, chairman and CEO of Vonage Holdings Corp. “Further, Vonage is bringing telecom growth back to the state of New Jersey after a long absence.”

As a sinde-aside: with so many people, it is starting to resemble like a phone company!